Donahue Returns As McNary Eyes NVC Title

By Jeremy McDonald

KEIZER, Ore.–  It was a bummer way to start, and end, a season last Spring for McNary Lacrosse player Kyler Donahue.  In the first quarter of their first game against Thurston, Donahue tore his ACL.  Sidelining the then-junior as the Celtic Lacrosse team came within four minutes of winning the North Valley Conference title last season.

But instead of sulking and pout of the situation, Donahue remained with his team.  Roaming the sidelines, acting like a player-coach, looking more like Paul Walker’s character from Varsity Blues as he helped his McNary teammates throughout the season last year as he was going through the recovery process.

“I felt like there were pros and cons to both.  That I wasn’t on the field, that was the cons.  But there were pros off the field.  I was able to see the field and what our defense was doing, I could puppet them almost when they came off the field.  I can tell them what slides they’re missing, who the guys they need to watch out on and get on hands or get your stick up at this point.  It was a lot because we had a big Metro schedule last year and a lot of teams that knew how to dodge and beat that first slide, so it was kind of a pro that I was on the sideline a little bit,” Donahue describes. 

Donahue was cleared last Monday going into the first week of official practice.  Though Lacrosse is technically a ‘club’ sport, the sport itself follows the traditional Spring schedule that the OSAA has for all the Spring Sports, i.e. Track, Baseball and Softball, so February 27 was Lacrosse’s first official practice as well.  Donahue was gassed after McNary’s grueling conditioning test at the start of practice, running a mile-and-a-half or six laps in ten minutes, but the senior is happy to be back playing as he went to put on his pads for practice Monday night.  

Donahue still wants to chase that College Lacrosse dream despite this little hiccup, this adversity, came his way.  But it hasn’t deterred him from chasing that dream as the games start next week for the Celtics.

Donahue catches his breath after doing the start-of-practice conditioning Monday Night (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

“I’ve been trying to gain weight, I got to get the recruiting process started and get that weight on.  So I’m still in that bulking/skinny situation and this running is helping a lot and I’m really excited about getting back into it,” Donahue said.

Those final three minutes really dig at Donahue and his teammates.  They led NVC juggernaut West Salem 6-3 with 4:03 left in the Championship Game last May.  They were in control before the Titans, in rapid succession, tied it up to force OT.  Eventually winning the contest and the Title in double-OT 7-6.

Carson Tompkins and Jesse Dyer at Attack.  Will Green and Kaden Donahue, Kyler’s twin brother, will anchor the defense.  Roman Burrus in the midfield will be key in transitions and Kyler Donahue is hoping to step up as a leader in his return to the field with the confidence to make another run at the North Valley Conference Title with the returning core that they have this year.

“I definitely think we can do it again.  I think we can do better than last year, we have a really solid core this year.  A big core of guys this year who can play.  Catch-and-pass and the kids coming on like the freshman, sophomores and new guys.  We can teach them, they can see us and they can get better everyday and I think we’re going to be very good at the end of the day,” Donahue said.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald


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